SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The Bonnet Carre Spillway has been open for 100 days as of Friday and the influx of freshwater still pouring into the Mississippi Sound is taking a major toll on coast fishermen.
The shrimp season opened two weeks ago but, by most accounts, the freshwater in the Mississippi Sound is making it a season to forget for those who make their living on the water.
Shrimpers are having to adjust where they drop their nets, said David Veal director of American Shrimp Processors Association
“For fishermen in Pass Christian or here in Mississippi, it’s clearly financially catastrophic if they’re an in-shore or near-shore shrimper,” said Veal. “I would guess at the year’s end, we’ll be down some in terms of total Gulf production. We’ll get more from offshore boats. We’ll have more of it caught in western Louisiana and in Texas.”
The process of closing the Bonnet Carre Spillway could begin as early as next week.
This is the longest the Bonnet Carre has remained open, causing trillions of gallons of freshwater to pour into the normally-brackish Mississippi Sound. Aside from causing the salinity to drop, the influx of freshwater has also led to dangerous algae blooms forming near the coastline. Those algae blooms now stretch from Hancock County to parts of the beach in Ocean Springs.
MDEQ is advising the public not to swim in those areas that are showing algae blooms. People are also advised not to eat seafood caught in the Mississippi Sound in areas where the water advisories are in effect.